In the foreword to “Going to Windward: A Mosbacher Family Memoir,” President George H.W. Bush writes this about Washington and Lee alumnus Bob Mosbacher: “[He] made life in Houston, life in Washington — life, period — more enjoyable and meaningful for Barbara and me than mere words can describe. Simply put, we hate to think where we would be without him.”
Bob Mosbacher died in January of complications from pancreatic cancer. A member of the Class of 1947 and the Law School Class of 1949, Bob received an honorary degree from the University in 1984.
The new book was just released this fall by the Texas A&M University Consortium Press. It was formally introduced at an event held at the George Bush Presidential Library earlier this month, when President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, attended the program, which featured Bob’s widow, Mica Mosbacher, his son, Robert A. Mosbacher Jr., and Texas First Lady Anita Perry, among others.
Bob served as the 28th U.S. Secretary of Commerce under the first President Bush and was an accomplished oilman who founded Mosbacher Energy Co. He was also a powerful Republican fund-raiser and a champion amateur sailor. The George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University named the Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics and Public Policy in his honor.
In his memoir, which he wrote with James G. McGrath, Bob noted his decision to attend W&L. Having attended prep school in the Northeast, Bob wrote, “my thoughts turned more toward going to a southern school.” But he also wanted to attend a school with a calendar that would allow him to compete in a major yachting event, the Long Island International Class series, since he thought had a good chance to win the overall championship.
He told the placement officer at Choate, his high school, that he was looking for a “warm-climate university.” The placement officer named three schools: Tulane, Duke and W&L. “I was intrigued [by W&L], and once I learned more about the school, its location, and its size I decided to go there…. In the end, I lost the International Class title — but by deciding for Washington and Lee, I gained something far more precious.” He’s referring to Jane Pennypacker, his first wife, who died of leukemia in 1970.